Fracture prevention in the elderly is an important public health goal. Foot and ankle specialists are on the front line of fracture prevention treating the structures responsible for stability and movement.
Since fractures typically occur from a fall, an important aspect of preventing broken bones in older people is reducing their risk of falling.
There are many factors that can contribute to the risk of falling with foot pain and instability being one of them.
Just because a fall may not result in a fracture does not mean that the person has not experienced a significant injury. For example, one could hit their head and develop a brain injury without ever having a fracture.
So what if an accident occurs and you do fall? In that case you want to have bones that are strong enough to withstand the potential trauma from the fall.
An analysis of 11 vitamin D studies found that people 65 years of age and older who took at least 800 IU of vitamin D daily had a lower risk of bone fracture.
Nutrition is responsible for the strength of bones, and adequate vitamin D is one aspect of nutrition that is extremely important for many aspects of health.
The analysis in the study mentioned above looked at the risk of both hip and non-spinal fractures, and found a reduced fracture risk in people taking at least 800 IU vitamin D daily.
- A 30% reduction in the risk of hip fracture
- A 14% reduction in the risk of any non-spinal fracture.
This dose of 800-1000 IU daily vitamin D supplementation for the elderly has been supported elsewhere in the literature. Actually the study I just referred to appears to support up to 2,000 IU daily, but I would not necessarily recommend that without checking your vitamin D level first. This study did not take the participants starting vitamin D level into account.
Speak to your doctor about your vitamin D level as well as how you can strengthen your lower limbs to prevent a fall. It is very important to have strong hips, thighs, and legs as you age. Not only for fall prevention, but for function and independence as you progress in years.
Keep your feet and ankles – the foundation of movement – functioning as best as possible as you age.
If you have reduced your risk of falling by improving lower limb strength and foot function, leave a comment below so others can learn from your experience.